Three Pakistan Army soldiers were killed in Indian firing across the Line of Control (LoC), said a statement from the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Monday evening.

The incident occurred in the Thoob sector of Bhimber district.

ISPR identified the slain soldiers as Naik Ghulam Rasool, Naik Imran zafar and Sepoy Imam Buksh.

The ISPR statement added that Indian forces also suffered casualties in the latest incident of cross-border skirmishing.

Previous deaths

On November 14. 2016, seven Pakistani soldiers were killed in cross-border firing by Indian forces. The incident occurred in the Bhimber district of the LoC.

In another incident on November 24, three Pakistan Army soldiers were killed and ISPR claimed the killing of seven Indian soldiers in the same incident.

Tense relations

Incidents of cross-border firing were reported with frequency in the last months of 2016 as tensions simmered between Pakistan and India over the Kashmir issue. Exchanges of fire have been reported sporadically since the new year began.

Following the Uri army base attack in September, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi stepped up a drive to isolate Pakistan diplomatically.

In the days following the attack, India claimed to have conducted a cross-border 'surgical strike' against 'launch pads of terror' in Azad Jammu and Kashmir — a claim Pakistan strongly rejected.

Pakistan maintains that India is attempting to divert the world's attention away from 'atrocities' committed by government forces in India-held Kashmir.

The two countries have locked horns over the Kashmir issue after Indian forces stepped up a crackdown against protesters after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed by government forces in July.

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